Care Sheet: Central Netted Dragon

‘The following guidelines are excerpts from my book ‘Captive Care of the Central Netted Dragon‘ which you can buy here.

– Shannon Wild


Central Netted Dragons are terrestrial so buy the largest enclosure you can afford with most of the area as floor space rather than height.  A guide for sizing is 1000mm x 400mm with a reasonable height of at least 400mm.  This would accommodate up to three lizards.  If you want to keep more than one lizard, don’t house males together.  They will fight for dominance resulting in stress and possible injury.  House a male with one or more females or keep females only if you don’t want breeding.

It’s important that your enclosure is easy to clean, this means a smooth surface that is water tight.  Glass is a good choice.  This allows easy observation from many angles and also makes cleaning extremely simple.

Substrate choice should be determined by replicating the lizards natural environment and in the case of the Central Netted Dragon that is sand. 

Enclosure with Central Netted Dragons. Photo: © Shannon Wild


The most important item of furniture in your enclosure is an adequate hide.  This allows your lizard an area to retreat to when it feels threatened.  Some also like to sleep in a protected area so a hide is essential to your lizards stress levels and therefore physical and psychological health.


Make sure the water you provide is in a solid container that cannot be spilled.  When providing water the container must be cleaned and water replaced daily.  If faeces is found it needs to be emptied, cleaned and sanitised immediately.

When using tap water, a reptile specific water conditioner must be added.  It will removes chlorine and chloramine as well as ammonia.  I also recommend added a liquid calcium supplement such as Calcium Sandoz at a rate of 12ml / 1.5L.

Heating & Lighting

As a desert-dwelling lizard, lighting is one of the most important aspects of properly caring for your dragon.  In the wild the sun provides the dragons with all their heat and light requirements which are essential for overall health.  Adequate heat is required to provide energy and raise the dragon’s body temperature to a level that will allow proper digestion of food.

UVB light allows your reptile to synthesise Vitamin D3 which is produced naturally in the skin of reptiles as with most animals and will allow your dragon to absorb calcium and develop strong, healthy bones.  Without it dragons of any age will develop Metabolic Bone Disease.

A Mercury Vapour bulb is recommended, position as per the diagram on page 2.  They must be changed every 6-12 months.  It’s important to know that UV or other individual bulbs do not produce a full spectrum of light and therefore should be combined with a halogen bulb to provide the widest spectrum of visible and UV lighting.  Position and adjust the bulbs until you have created an appropriate basking spot temperature making sure the Mercury Vapour does not come within the recommended minimum distance as stated in the diagram overleaf and on the bulb packaging.

Important: Adequate levels of UVB cannot pass through glass or plastic.

Ideal Set-up Diagram – Utilising a MegaRay® Mercury Vapour Lamp

Alternative Set-up Diagram – Utilising a ZooMed® ReptiSun 10.0


It is essential to provide a temperature gradient in the enclosure of no less than 5˚ but preferably  10˚ or more from one end to the other.

It is important to maintain these temperatures and avoid fluctuations.  During the day the minimum temperature should be no less than 25˚, this will become the cold end of the enclosure while the hot end should be maintained at 35˚ with a basking area of 40˚- 43˚. 


Cleaning is an essential part of the reptile-keeping process and should be done regularly. Cleaning of the interior walls of the enclosure should be done weekly.  While substrate and animals are present never use a spray cleaner.  Instead use a disinfectant wipe, like F10 Wipes and allow to air dry.

When cleaning enclosure furniture such as rocks and hides soak in very hot plain water for general cleaning.  If the items have faeces on them use a veterinary strength cleaning product like F10SC.  Do not use cleaning products that will leave a strong lingering odour like some household disinfectants as it can be toxic to your pet.


Feed your dragon 2-3 times per week and allow them to eat as much as they want in a sitting.  Do not feed your dragons earlier than 1 hour after lights go on or later than 1 hour before lights go out, but preferably well before that time.  This allows them to maintain an optimal body temperature necessary for digestion.

Whether you choose crickets or woodies they should always be gut loaded before feeding them to your dragon to provide the most nutritional value.  You can feed insects with ‘gut load’ available from pet stores plus fresh carrot for moisture. Alternatively feed vegetables and fruit as well as cat or dog food, moist or dry dusted with a calcium supplement.

You should also dust the insects with a calcium supplement (phosphorus free) just prior to feeding by placing calcium dust in a small bag then adding the insects and shaking so they are all lightly coated.

Prey insects should be no larger than the width of your dragon’s head to avoid impaction and digestion problems.

Central Netted Dragon eating. Photo: © Shannon Wild

This is just a taste of care information available in my book ‘Captive Care of the Central Netted Dragon’, now available as an immediately downloadable ebook here.

The essential resource for Central Netted Dragon owners!  63 double spread pages of useful information, modern, easy to read layout and full colour photographs.

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